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Can you have two insurance policies on one car in the UK?

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Whether your child needs temporary cover on the family car, or there’s an overlap between new and old providers, there are a number of situations in which you may end up with two car insurance policies on the same car. This is sometimes known as dual car, or double, insurance.

In the UK, you can legally have two insurance policies on the same vehicle. However, if you do have two policies, you need to be careful how you go about making a claim. And not all providers will insure a car that already has a policy taken out.

Below we detail why you might have more than one policy, the benefits and drawbacks, and what to watch out for if you do double up on car insurance.

Why might you have two policies?

Having two car insurance policies on the same vehicle is more common than you might think:

  • Your car may have multiple drivers, each with their own insurance policy, whether that’s temporary car insurance or long-term cover
  • Someone is learning to drive in your car, and has taken out learner driver insurance
  • Your existing insurance may have auto-renewed without you realising, and you take out a new policy
  • You may have overlapping policies, for example paying separately for breakdown cover without realising your car insurance already includes it

The legality of multiple insurance policies

It is completely legal to have multiple insurance policies on the same car. This includes two people having separate policies from different providers on the same vehicle. However, it is possible to fall afoul of the law if you have multiple policies and make a claim.

Specifically, you cannot claim for the full amount for the same incident from multiple insurers. To do so would be classed as insurance fraud. So, don’t go thinking that double the insurance means double the payout!

How can I avoid doubling up on my car insurance?

The best way to avoid doubling up on your car insurance is by being proactive at the start and end of your policy.

Before taking out a policy

Before taking out a new policy, draw up a list of all the things you might want covered that sit outside standard car insurance.

Then, when comparing quotes, carefully check the terms and conditions of each provider to see if they match what you want. This includes which optional extras you can add on, and when.

By doing this, you can try and avoid the need for taking out a second car insurance policy because you feel you aren’t adequately covered.

Avoid auto-renewal

If you want to avoid auto-renewal – that is your insurance provider automatically putting you on to a new (likely more expensive) policy when you existing cover expires – you should:

  1. Check the terms and conditions of your existing policy, to see if it contains an auto-renewal clause.
  2. Cancel your auto-renewal before your existing policy comes to an end by contacting your insurer. You can do this at any time during the policy, though your insurer will state a cut off date, for example a few days before the policy renews.
  3. Find new cover between 21 and 30 days before your policy expires. This may still end up being with the same insurer, but it is always worth comparing quotes from other providers.

If your car insurance does end up auto-renewing, you can cancel your policy within the 14 day ‘cooling off’ period that begins once the new cover kicks in. The law dictates that this two-week cooling off period is the minimum amount of time insurance providers have to give you to cancel a new policy.

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When might you consider two policies?

There are a few reasons why you might consider taking out two different car insurance policies. However, you should always check the terms of your existing cover before taking out another policy, to avoid doubling up unnecessarily.

Different drivers with varying risk profiles

If there are two drivers using the same car, and one has a better driving history than the other – for example, one driver has points on their licence and the other doesn’t – it might make sense to have two car insurance policies.

This is so the points-free driver can avoid having the price of their premium affected by the extra insurance costs associated with being seen as a higher risk driver.

For temporary or learner drivers

If someone wants to use your car for a short amount of time, it may be cheaper for them to take out a new temporary car insurance policy instead of adding it to your existing cover.

Advantages of having two insurance policies

Used carefully, there are a few benefits to having multiple car insurance policies:

Comprehensive coverage

Having two different car insurance policies may allow you to compensate for a lack of coverage in one with the perks of another. 

For example, your existing fully comprehensive insurance may not include cover for a learner driver. Therefore you could take out learner drive insurance to allow for a learner drive to practice in your car.

Flexibility in claims

You may be able to pick which policy you make a car insurance claim on in the event of an accident. For instance, one policy may include courtesy car insurance, while the other may not. 

However, both insurance companies may need to be involved, which can slow down the claims process.

Protect your no claims bonus

Let’s say you and another driver of the same vehicle have separate car insurance policies. If the other driver gets into an accident and needs to make a claim, your own no claims bonus should still be protected. 

Keep your own premiums down

If you share a car with friends, for example, and one of them has a driving history that would be labeled high risk, you can avoid your premium increasing by taking out separate policies.

It is always worth, however, comparing the cost of two premiums versus dividing the cost of one, even if that split isn’t 50-50.

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Drawbacks of dual insurance policies

You should make sure to weigh up the downsides of having two policies before taking out dual car insurance:

Potential for costly over-insurance

Much of the time, it won’t be the best decision financially to take out two insurance policies. This is for the simple fact that two policies means two premiums to pay. And you may end up over-insured for no reason.

Really digging into the level of cover you want, and carefully reading through the terms of conditions of each potential provider, before taking out a policy should reduce the need for further insurance down the line.

Complications in claim scenarios

Making a claim on a car with more than one insurance policy on it can complicate the claims process.

While you may be able to pick which provider you make a claim with, sometimes both insurance companies will need to be involved. And whether it’s checking that a claim hasn’t already been made with the other provider, deciding which insurer is responsible, or figuring out who pays what when contributing to the cost of the claim, this can slow the entire process down.

In summary

Although it isn’t illegal to have two car insurance policies on the same car, it is always important to carefully consider if it is the right fit for your needs:

  • First, check that your existing policy doesn’t already cover you
  • Weigh up the financial costs of taking out a new policy
  • Make sure that, if you make a claim, you do not try and get the full amount from both providers

FAQ

If you accidentally end up with two insurance policies on your car, you may be able to cancel one of them. It will depend on whether you are still in the 14 day cooling off period that starts when your policy begins. If you are, you should be able to cancel that policy.

There are some benefits to holding dual insurance policies, including:

  • Obtaining the fullest level of cover you can (although you may be able to do this with just one fully comprehensive insurance policy)
  • Potentially protecting your no claims bonus if another driver has an accident in your car on their own policy, rather than as a named driver
  • Preventing your premium from increasing, by allowing a higher risk driver to take out their own policy, rather than adding them as a named driver to your own
  • Allowing for temporary car insurance, or learner driver insurance, to be taken out on a car with an existing policy

Most of the time it will be more expensive to have two policies instead of one, as you will be paying two separate insurance premiums. Before taking out another policy, you should check the terms of your existing policy to make sure it doesn’t already have everything you need.

Connor Campbell

Finance Writer

Connor Campbell is an experienced personal and business finance writer who has been producing online content for almost a decade. 

Connor is the personal finance expert for Independent Advisor, guiding readers through everything they need to know about car insurance and home insurance. From how much it costs to the best insurance providers in the UK, he’s here to help you find the right policy for your needs. 

In his capacity as writer and spokesperson at NerdWallet, Connor explored a number of topics close to his heart, such as the impact of our increasingly cashless society, and the hardships and heroics of British entrepreneurs. His commentary was featured in sites such as The Mirror, the Daily Express and Business Insider

At financial trading firm Spreadex, meanwhile, his market commentary was featured in outlets such as The Guardian, BBC, Reuters and the Evening Standard

Connor is a voracious reader with an MA in English, and is dedicated to making life’s financial decisions a little bit easier by doing away with jargon and needless complexity.

Amy Reeves

Editor

Amy is a seasoned writer and editor with a special interest in home design, sustainable technology and green building methods.

She has interviewed hundreds of self-builders, extenders and renovators about their journeys towards individual, well-considered homes, as well as architects and industry experts during her five years working as Assistant Editor at Homebuilding & Renovating, part of Future plc.

Amy’s work covers topics ranging from home, interior and garden design to DIY step-by-steps, planning permission and build costs, and has been published in Period Living, Real Homes, and 25 Beautiful Homes, Homes and Gardens.

Now an Editor at the Independent Advisor, Amy manages homes-related content for the site, including solar panels, combi boilers, and windows.

Her passion for saving tired and inefficient homes also extends to her own life; Amy completed a renovation of a mid-century house in 2022 and is about to embark on an energy-efficient overhaul of a 1800s cottage in Somerset.